Turquoise Parrot
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. turquoise parrot
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  • An Australian Parrot
  • Scientific Name: Neophema pulchella
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: None
  • Origin / Distribution: Eastern Australia.
  • Habitat In Wild: Diverse, including woodlands, timbered grasslands, open forest and the surrounding secondary vegetation.
  • Status In Wild: Secure
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity: Common
  • Age To Sexual Maturity: About 10 - 12 months
  • Adult plumage: attained after the first moult at about 4 - 6 months. The second moult results in a more intense feather colour in the cock bird.
  • Best breeding years (estimate): 2nd year onwards
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx. 10 - 15 years
  • Sexing: Monomorphic / Dimorphic
  • Mutations: Many.  Pure "normal" colour birds are hard to obtain and some lines have been crossed with other Neophemas to try and breed more colour into the colour mutations.  The true original plumage colour is still the most attractive.
  • Availability: Common. Most large pet shops and bird dealers.
  • Temperament: Good beginners bird.  Suitable in a mixed collection of finches, quail.  Best results are obtained with one pair per aviary.  Do not mix with other Neophemas due to possible hybridization.  Turquoise are generally more aggressive than the other Neophemas but not considered as an aggressive bird.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $60
  • Description Of Adults: Similar to the Scarlet chested parrot.
  1. Length: Approx. 200 mm (or approx. 8 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx. 40 - 45 gms (or approx 1.5 ozs)

The Turquoise parrot is a member of the genus Neophema, which include Blue winged parrot, Elegant parrot, Rock parrot, Scarlet-chested parrot, and the Orange bellied parrot.  These are commonly called "Grass parrots".  The Bourke's parrot has recently been removed from the Neophema genus and placed in a genus of their own.

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws: Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements: Refer to " Housing Birds " web page for general details on the housing of Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Suitable bird for those with smaller aviaries and are generally not destructive to the timber of aviary frames.  They will chew on plants within the aviary.  The turquoise parrot is generally more aggressive than the other Neophema species.  Best housed as a single pair per aviary.  Double wire between adjoining aviaries or a solid wall between the aviaries is recommended.

They are usually unsuccessful when housed in a large aviary as a colony.  It can be housed and bred successfully in a small aviary as a single pair.  Best results are usually achieved as one pair per aviary.

The Neophema parrot is easy to house and will accept and breed in a cage of about 1200mm long , 600mm high and 600mm wide (4 x 2 x 2 feet through to a standard parrot aviary.
An aviary of at least 2 metres (7 feet) long is preferred.  An aviary of about 3 metres long (10 feet) is ideal.  Aviary should be about 900 mm wide (3 feet) and 2100 mm (7 feet) high.
Birds housed in a cage or suspended cage during the breeding season should be allowed access to an aviary during the non-breeding season for adequate exercise and to regain a good level of fitness.

Because they will hybridize with other the Neophemas, they must not be housed with any of the other Neophema species. May be housed with the Bourke's parrot without the risk of hybridization.  The Turquoise may show aggression to other species of Neophema parrots or the Bourke's parrot.

Birds bred to produce specific colour mutations need to be housed as one pair per aviary.

Non-toxic leafy branches, such as eucalypts, can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up. This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds some beak exercise. Natural branches of various diameters, and placed at various angles, can be used for perches. These natural perches may be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly. The birds may chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches.

Diet / Feeding: Refer to " Feeding Birds " web page for general details on the feeding of Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

In the wild the natural foods of the Turquoise parrot are seeds from grasses and herbaceous plants. Seasonally available fruits, blossoms, fruit and flower buds, and various plant and vegetable matter balance the nutritional intake.  Insects may form part of their food intake.

In the aviary these birds need a quality "small parrot mix" or "budgie seed mix" supplemented with plain canary seed and small amount of sunflower seed.  Seeding grasses along with some leafy green vegetables such as silverbeet, spinach or endive.  A variety of fruits e.g. apple, pear, orange and a variety of seasonally available vegetables should be offered as part of their daily food intake.  Sprouted or soaked seed can be offered.

Some birds will consume insects such as mealworms, especially if they have young in the nest.  The mealworm larvae, pupa and beetle can be offered.  The insects provide a good source of easily digested protein.  Neophemas housed with finches, softbills or other insect eating birds will often copy the other tenants and eat insects.

Commercial parrot pellets may form part of a balanced food intake.

Nesting: A basic overview only. Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences. Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared. If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice. Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season. Try and keep that one for their exclusive use. Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed. If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.
All Australian parrots will breed in hollow logs.

  • Nesting months: Spring to Autumn. May breed year round if conditions are suitable.
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  300 - 500 mm (or approx. 12 - 20 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 125 - 180 mm (or approx  5 - 7 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx.125 - 180 mm square (or approx  5 - 7 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx  55 - 65 mm (or approx  2.5 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 mm (or approx  4 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and height of log / nest-box = in a sheltered part of the aviary and at about 1.5 - 1.8 metres height, but not too close to the roof to cause heat problems in the hotter months.
    • Angle of log or nest box =  45 degrees through to vertical.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.  The hen may carry small pieces of grasses or leaves into the nest to use as nesting material.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 2 - 3.  Eggs per nest 4 - 5.  Incubation approx 18 days.  Fledge approx 4 - 5weeks.  Independent approx. another 3 - 4 weeks.

In an aviary, the young birds just after they leave the nest are often "clumsy" fliers and may crash into the front wire wall. The placement of hessian on the outer side of the wire wall or leafy branches close to the wire inside the cage should minimize the risk of injury of a young bird. The young bird should see the hessian or leafy branches and not fly into the end of the aviary.

The hen feeds the young for the first 2 weeks. After the first 2 weeks the cock bird will start feeding the young birds along with the hen.

Young should be removed from the parent birds as soon as they are fully independent so as to avoid possible aggression from a parent.

Pure "normal" colour birds are hard to obtain and some lines have been crossed with other Neophemas to try and breed more colour into the colour mutations.  Care must be taken to ensure pure normal breeding birds are maintained to ensure the survival of Turquoise parrot.

The Neophemas may breed before the age of 12 months, but it is preferable to let the birds fully mature prior to commencing breeding.  Hens that start at or after 12 months of age are usually better mothers and more reliable.  The hens usually have a longer breeding life if they are 12 or more months of age prior to starting to breed.  Cock birds are often prevented from mating till they are about 18 months of age.  This usually allows cock birds to fully sexually and physically mature and usually prevents the first clutches of eggs being "clear".  The slightly older cock birds are usually more reliable and better parents.
As with many other species of birds, the productivity of colour mutation birds, is much less than the "normal" colour birds.  The productivity is typically about half that of normal colour birds.
The young can have a numbered closed metal leg ring placed on their leg to identify them throughout their life.  This will be essential to identify birds that have colour mutations or "split" for a colour mutation.  A closed ring should allow the purchaser to obtain the breeding pedigree of that specific bird.  Closed metal leg rings can help improve the fertility of a specific line of birds by breeding from the most prolific or most reliable birds.

Artificial incubation, hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.  Refer "Specific References" as listed below and "General References" listings.

Health Issues: Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site. Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 54 No. 7 July 2000 Page 154-155
  • A/A Vol 52 No. 10 Oct 1998 Page 220-224
  • A/A Vol 51 No. 1 Jan 1997 Page 21
  • A/A Vol 50 No. 8 Aug 1996 Page 177-182
  • A/A Vol 48 No. 12 Dec 1994 Page 295-298
  • A/A Vol 48 No. 9 Sept 1994 Page 215-217 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 46 No. 9 Sept 1992 Page 208-209
  • A/A Vol 42 No. 8 Aug 1988 Page 191 (Olive)
  • A/A Vol 40 No. 8 Aug 1986 Page 181-182 (Inc photo)
  • A/A Vol 37 No. 4 Apr 1983 Page 90-93
  • A/A Vol 22 No 12 Dec 1968 Page 182-187 (Inc photo).
  • A/A Vol 15 No. 8 Aug 1961 Page 104-108.
  • A/A Vol 14 No. 8 Aug 1960 Page 105-107 (Inc colour plate).
  • A/A Vol 12 No 12 Dec 1958 Page 153-161.
  • A/A Vol  9 No 12 Dec 1955 Page 140.
  • A/A Vol  9 No 11 Nov 1955 Page 128.
  • A/A Vol  8 No 9 Sept 1954 Page 104-106.
  • A/A Vol  6 No 5 May 1952 Page 56.
  • A/A Vol  6 No 1 Jan 1952 Page 11-12.
  • A/A Vol  4 No 1 Jan 1950 Page 1-2.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 10 Oct 1949 Page 112.
  • A/A Vol  3 No 4 Apr 1949 Page 32-34.
  • A/A Vol  2 No 9 Sept 1948 Page 76.
  • The Bulletin No 7, Apr 1943 Page 2.
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 12 Issue 8. Apr-May 1999 Page 388-389 (Part 2)
  • ABK Vol 12 Issue 7. Feb-Mar 1999 Page 321-322 (Part 1)
  • ABK Vol  9 Issue 1. Feb-Mar 1996 Page 36-38
  • ABK Vol  4 Issue 9. Jun-July 1991 Page 423-424

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